V16I3 (Aug/Sep/Oct)

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Equine Wellness

August/September/October 2021 EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Dana Cox EDITOR: Emily Watson EDITOR: Ann Brightman SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Alyssa Dow SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Dawn Cumby-Dallin GRAPHIC DESIGN INTERN: Ethan Vorstenbosch Web Design & Development: Lace Imson Digital Marketing Specialist: Cole McCall COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Colleen Archer Carla Bauchmueller Bill Bookout Michail Bukin Cliff Faver, DVM Kevin Fenton, DVM Sarah Griffiths, DCH Carole Herder Jason Irwin Julie Anne Lee, DCH Jessica Lynn Jessica Putnam, BVMedSci(Hons), BVM BVS(Hons), MRCVS Stephanie Sawtelle Amy Snow Fotini Chandrika Walton Leah Wellard, PhD, BScH Nancy Zidonis ADMINISTRATION PUBLISHER: Redstone Media Group Inc. PRESIDENT/C.E.O.: Tim Hockley CIRCULATION & OFFICE MANAGER: Libby Sinden ACCOUNTING: Susan Smith SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES MANAGER:

Brittany Sillaots SUBMISSIONS Please email all editorial material to Emily Watson, Editor, at Emily@RedstoneMediaGroup.com. We welcome previously unpublished articles and color pictures either in jpeg, tif or disc form at 300 dpi. We cannot guarantee that either articles or pictures will be used or that they will be returned. We reserve the right to publish all letters received. You can also mail submissions to: Equine Wellness Magazine, 160 Charlotte St., Suite 202, Peterborough, ON, Canada, K9J 2T8. Please direct other correspondence to info@RedstoneMediaGroup.com.

DEALER OR GROUP INQUIRIES WELCOME Equine Wellness Magazine is available at a discount for resale in retail shops and through various organizations. Call Libby at 1-866-764-1212 ext. 100 or fax us at 705-742-4596 or e-mail Libby@RedstoneMediaGroup.com. ADVERTISING SALES National Sales Manager/Editorial Associate: Kat Shaw 1-866-764-1212 ext. 315 KatShaw@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Business Development/Editorial Associate: Becky Starr, 1-866-764-1212 ext. 221 Becky@RedstoneMediaGroup.com Marketing Associate: Mattias Wahl, (866) 764-1212 ext 226 Mattias@redstonemediagroup.com CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Classified@EquineWellnessMagazine.com TO SUBSCRIBE Subscription price at time of this issue in the U.S. and Canada is $20.00 including taxes for four issues shipped via surface mail. Subscriptions can be processed by: Website: EquineWellnessMagazine.com Phone: 1-866-764-1212 ext. 115 US MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 6834 S University Blvd PMB 155 Centennial, CO 80122 CDN MAIL Equine Wellness Magazine 202-160 Charlotte St., Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 2T8

ON THE COVER PHOTO COURTESY OF: Kerry Brown / Bleecker Street & Topic Studios

Subscriptions are payable by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, check or money order. The material in this magazine is not intended to replace the care of veterinary practitioners. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor, and different views may appear in other issues. Refund policy: call or write our customer service department and we will refund unmailed issues.


Equine Wellness Magazine (ISSN 1718-5793) is published four times a year by Redstone Media Group Inc. Publications Mail Agreement #40884047. Entire contents copyright© 2021. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Publication date: July 2021.

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Meet Bo, the striking hero of the new hit film, Dream Horse. Although he was born to be behind the camera, this 11-year-old gelding is more than just a pretty face. He had to be, to win the affection of his co-star Toni Collette! Flip to page 26 to learn more.

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CONTENTS August/September/October 2021

Departments 6 Editorial 17 Business profile — HEIRO

21 Product profile

— Adored Beast Apothecary

25 Product picks Photo courtesy of Kerry Brown / Bleecker Street & Topic Studios.

29 Rider fitness 36 From the NASC 40 Acupressure at-a-glance

41 What’s new and

hot this summer?

45 Classifieds 45 Marketplace

Features 22


H ow to prevent and heal

proud flesh

Most horses will get wounded at some point in their lives. When scrapes and cuts happen, follow these tips to prevent the development of proud flesh — and heal it quickly when it does occur.


D ream Horse


Take a look behind the scenes of the new hit film, Dream Horse — starring a whole herd of equine actors!



EATING WELL Top tips on feeding picky horses Does your horse often leave feed in his bucket? Do you struggle to keep him at a healthy weight? Here’s how to deal with your picky eater.

EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING Regaining confidence when working with horses

Have you lost your confidence when it comes to working with horses? These expert training tips will help you get it back!

C ancer prevention for

horses — can you keep this disease at bay?

A look at the most common types of cancer in horses and some steps you can take to naturally prevent this dreaded disease.



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Ringbone: the road to lameness H EALTHY HOOVES


N EWSWORTHY Federal lawmakers reintroducing bill to ban horse slaughter

A better understanding of ringbone in horses will help you take effective steps toward prevention and recovery.



Benefits of connecting with horses during the pandemic

Connecting with our horses is always beneficial for our wellbeing. But amid a global pandemic it offers even more advantages.



EED TO KNOW N How to properly administer medication to your horse Most horse caretakers will have to administer medication to their horses at some point. When that time comes, keep these tips and considerations in mind!


The Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act would permanently ban horse slaughter in the U.S. and end the export of horses for slaughter abroad.

ODY, MIND, SPIRIT B Q&A: Caring for the emotional needs of a healing horse

This helpful Q&A is designed to help you look beyond the physical needs of your healing horse in order to cater to his emotional well-being.

Social Media Tips, contests and more! /EquineWellnessMagazine


Gut health for performance horses — what you need to know

Competition season is here which means increased gastric ulcer risk! Learn how you can support your horse’s gut naturally to improve performance, reduce stress, and promote longevity in the show ring.


IFESTYLE L Top tips for seniors working with horses

As any senior equestrian can attest, age doesn’t affect one’s love of horses! Follow these safety tips to keep yourself safe at the barn throughout your golden years.

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T RAINING AND RECOVERY An expert guide to massaging your equine athlete Regardless of what discipline you practice with your horse, he can benefit from regular massage therapy. Here are a few things to know about this modality and how to apply it in the most effective way.


EWSWORTHY N Is obesity a risk factor for asthma in horses?

Researchers are investigating the link between obesity and asthma in horses in the hope that their findings will improve how the condition is diagnosed and treated.


News, events, and tips! @ EquineWellness Tips, horse photos, and more! EquineWellness

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A thicker skin Summer is here — and with it, show season! Such an exciting time, especially given what we’ve all been through over the past year. Let’s face it — the pandemic dragged on a bit longer than expected, but I think it’s fair to say that we all grew thicker skins as a result. We learned lessons about health, freedom and connection that reshaped the way we live our lives, and the way we interact with our horses. “Thicker skin” — such a perfect metaphor. And, coincidentally, right in line with this issue’s “skin and cancer” theme. This outer layer of tissue that encases our bodies — and those of our horses’ — acts as a coat of armor, so it only makes sense that we should prioritize its health. In the pages that follow, you’ll find a handful of articles that will help you care for your horse’s skin. From sunscreen and fly masks to acupressure and proper wound care techniques, there’s no shortage of ways to protect this protective organ! The feature on page 32 looks at some common types of cancer in horses, and addresses the question every horse caretaker asks — how can I guard my horses against this dreaded disease? We also cover the topic of proud flesh in this jam-packed issue (page 22), as well as ringbone (page 13) and gastric ulcers (page 21). Don’t miss the horsemanship feature on page 10, where you’ll find some tips from trainer Jason Irwin on regaining confidence on and around horses. And last but not least, keep reading for advice on feeding picky equines (page 8), and


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how to care for the emotional needs of your healing horse (page 18). Don’t worry — we made sure to balance out all this hefty content with some fun articles! Our cover story on page 26 takes a behind-the-scenes look at Dream Horse, the new hit film starring Toni Collette (and a whole herd of talented equine actors). And for those of you looking to deepen the connection you share with your equine companions (aren’t we all?), check out the Rider Fitness column on page 29 to learn how to cue him with your thoughts! Happy reading, dear readers, and be safe out there this summer. Look after your loved ones — two- and four-legged — and remember to wear your protective gear — riding helmet, mask, and sunscreen! Naturally,

Emily Watson, Senior Content Editor

Equine Wellness





Does your horse often leave feed in his bucket? Do you struggle to keep him at a healthy weight? Here’s how to deal with your picky eater.

Feeding a picky horse is akin to convincing a toddler to eat vegetables. It’s hard! Like all of us, horses choose their food based on visual cues, odor, taste, texture, availability, and variety. While sometimes it’s just a matter of finding out what flavors and textures your horse prefers, his pickiness may also be the result of medical issues or improper management practices.

RULE OUT HEALTH CONCERNS If your horse is turning his nose up at his feed, it may be an indication that something is wrong. There are several possible medical reasons why horses may not be eager to chow down. Be sure to ask your veterinarian about these potential health concerns first to ensure your horse is happy and healthy. Digestive disturbances Gastric ulcers are hugely prevalent in performance horses and leisure horses alike. Horses who are slow or picky eaters may be trying to tell you that their tummies hurt! Gastric ulcers are a painful condition that can impact the horse’s desire to eat and prevent him from maintaining a 8

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healthy body condition. Hindgut ulcers are also something to consider as they can also suppress a horse’s appetite.

pickiness, you can start to investigate different management practices that may be impacting his appetite.

Dental troubles Horses have teeth that do not fall out and are continuously growing. While their teeth can be worn down by the grinding of feedstuffs like forage or grain, they can be worn down unevenly, develop sharp edges, get cavities, or have other dental issues that may make chewing less effective or even painful. Veterinarians recommend getting your horse’s teeth checked out every six months and floated at least once a year.

Stable stress Stress can significantly impact your horse’s appetite. If he’s low in the herd’s pecking order, he may be more worried about his food-aggressive companions than finishing his supper. Consider separating your horse from the herd so he feels safe and secure enough to finish his meal. Similarly, if your horse is anxious in a stall or has an aggressive neighbor, he will likely have difficulty focusing on eating. Ensure he has a friend nearby or move him to a quieter stall to make mealtimes more peaceful.

Prescription problems It is important to keep in mind that certain medications, like peroglide (Prascend), can cause a lack of appetite in horses. Consult with your veterinarian to make sure that your horse’s medication and dosage is suitable for him.

CHANGING MANAGEMENT PRACTICES TO HELP PICKY EATERS After ensuring that there are no medical reasons to explain your horse’s



Dehydration If your horse is not drinking enough it will impact how much food they will want to consume. Making sure your horse has 24/7, free-choice access to fresh, clean water is key to ensuring that he is well-hydrated. If horses only have access to rivers, lakes, or snow, they will not likely consume enough water to stay hydrated. In colder climates, heated water buckets are

necessary to ensure the water is an optimal drinking temperature as water thatʼs too cold will deter your horse from drinking.


Overeating The horse’s stomach can only hold two gallons of feed at a time. If you’re feeding high rates of grain, he may just be full! Consider switching to a ration balancer or vitamin and mineral supplement to ensure his nutritional needs are being met. Splitting meals up into multiple smaller meals may also be beneficial — you should never feed more than 2kg of grain in one meal. Horses can eat up to 3.2% of their bodyweight in forage (on a dry matter basis), while ponies can eat up to 4.9%. Depending on your horse and the quality of his hay or pasture, he may be getting full on forage. Not all horses and ponies can maintain a healthy body weight on free-choice forage, so if you suspect your horse is overeating hay or pasture, and he’s gaining weight, aim to feed only 1.5% to 2% of his bodyweight in forage.


Feed timing Exercise, but not intense exercise, can stimulate hunger. Timing feedings

after exercise can be a helpful way to increase your horse’s appetite.


Bucket placement Placing your horse’s feed bucket in an area where he stands often (i.e. the front of the stall) will help him focus on eating. Feeding your horse in a bucket at ground level may also entice him to eat.


Transition new feed slowly If you have recently introduced a new feed or supplement and it’s causing your horse to turn his nose up, introduce it more slowly into his diet. Horses have an incredibly strong sense of smell and taste which can make them hesitant to try new things. Adding feed or supplements a bit at a time (and tucked under a high-value reward) can encourage them to broaden their palate. If you notice your horse isn’t finishing his meals, the first step is to consult your veterinarian. After ruling out health concerns, there are a number of management and feeding alterations you can try to improve your horse’s appetite. Bon appetit!

Flavor and texture modifications to help picky eaters Change the texture with water Adding water to wet feed or powdery supplements may encourage your horse to eat. If you’re already soaking the feed, consider adding no water, or less water as some horses do not like the texture of soaked feed. It is all about adjusting to individual preference!

Add something sweet For horses who do not have metabolic concerns, adding a small amount of molasses, apple sauce or juice to their meals may make them more enticing.

Flavoring A handful of studies have looked at flavor preferences in horses. Two studies found that both fenugreek and banana flavoring significantly reduced consumption time compared to unflavoured feed. Another study found that horses preferred anise flavors to apple and peppermint. However, flavor preference can be highly individualistic, so different flavors may entice your horse more.

Leah Wellard is an equine nutritionist for Mad Barn, North America’s best source of performance horse supplements and nutrition. She has worked with hundreds of horse owners across North America to improve their horse’s diets and optimize their nutrition. Leah holds her Master’s degree in animal nutrition from the University of Guelph where she researched various topics on equine nutrition and physiology. As a lifelong rider, Leah spends her spare time riding her horse, Maya, and competing in the jumper ring in Ontario. Equine Wellness



I have lost my confidence around horses” is one of the most common phrases we hear as clinicians. Confidence is a big topic to cover because it can be so specific to each person, and its triggers can cause real fear which may need to be addressed by a psychologist. But from a training standpoint, here are a few tips that can help you regain confidence in your horsemanship.



Have you lost your confidence when it comes to working with horses? These expert training tips will help you get it back!


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Often a person’s lack of confidence has to do with worry that they might sustain an injury while riding or working with their horse. For people who already experience physical ailments, these feelings of nervousness may be more intense. These feelings are completely understandable — nobody wants to get hurt doing what they love. However, anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time with any animal knows they can be unpredictable. With horses specifically, riding or training involves some risk of injury. Even the best trained horse can have his unpredictable moments. It becomes a problem when the horse displays more and more unpredictable behavior and the rider stops trusting the horse. This causes the rider to lose confidence in the horse and can lead to a loss of enjoyment.

WHY DOES A HORSE BECOME UNPREDICTABLE? In order to understand why a horse becomes unpredictable, one thing must be understood about the needs of our equine partners. The most important thing to a horse is to feel safe.

If this need is not met, the horse will react the way he feels he needs to in order to protect himself. This may seem dramatic, but as herbivores that are low on the food chain, horses are programmed to save themselves even in situations that aren’t actually life or death. Remember that horses rely on a leader in the herd to keep them safe. If the horse feels he can’t rely on the rider or handler for safety he will take matters into his own hands. In many cases, the relationship will start to change and the horse will start to take control more often. This usually turns into a repetitive cycle — the horse acts unpredictably, this makes the rider nervous, the horse knows the rider is nervous and takes control of more situations, this scares the rider more

and so on. If this sounds familiar, read on to stop the cycle!

HORSEMANSHIP TO THE RESCUE! As soon as the horse feels that you (the rider or handler) can keep him safe, he’ll trust you to lead him through scary and everyday situations. If the horse trusts you, he’ll be more apt to listen to you because he feels protected in your presence. Things will become predictable again, and in turn you’ll feel safer with your horse. The way to get your horse to trust you is through clear communication, and the way to get there is by advancing your horsemanship.

WHERE TO START If you and your horse have had a volatile relationship, it is going to take

some time to change that. You’ll have to step out of your comfort zone and into a new confidence level in order to change the relationship dynamic. If you don’t feel safe with where the horse is at you may need the help of a professional trainer. This will give the horse a chance to work with someone who is confident in order to regain his own sense of safety and get back on track. But whether or not you enlist the help of a trainer, you have the biggest job of all — to learn how to best communicate with your horse through body language.


Start on the ground A great place to start working with your horse is in a safe enclosed area with minimal distractions. As a rider or handler, you have to be predictable — so establish

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CONSISTENCY IS KEY To keep from regressing when it comes to confidence, never stop furthering your horsemanship skills! Spend regular time building lines of communication to create a more respectful relationship with your horse. Eventually you’ll catch small issues before they become major problems, which can lead back to a loss in confidence. With regular practice and honing of your horsemanship skills you will get better at reading when the horse needs to do some groundwork, or when his foundation under saddle needs work. Horses, like people, are different day-in and day-out, so keep at it to keep things predictable and safe for both of you!

which cues you’re going to use and make them clear. Considering that you’ll be communicating through body language, start by moving the horse’s body and your own in order to communicate! If you can move your horse’s body parts on the ground comfortably, he’ll understand what you’re asking him to do. It is a building block to furthering the relationship and it is also the beginning of clear communication. The next thing you should do on the ground is build a willingness with the horse by incorporating desensitization

work and some easy obstacle work (start with ground poles and build up). The more obstacles you introduce, the more he’ll understand that he can trust you because you have not put him in danger. The more willing the horse is to listen to you the more predictable he becomes, and the more confidence is built.

2. Rebuild the foundation

Under saddle you should keep things simple. Again, give clear cues and focus on moving the parts of your horse’s body independently under saddle. Your goal should be to move

the haunches, the front end, the ribcage (lateral movement), move the horse forward and backward, and of course, stop. It is important to spend a lot of time working on this because you need to know what each button” does and the horse has to understand which part of the body to move and when. This type of work goes hand in hand with building a solid foundation on the horse. Plan to dedicate a lot of time to getting this aspect of training down pat, and do it in more than just one location. Once you can move each part of the horse, and he’s willing to stop and travel forward, backwards and sideways, you are on track to making him a predictable partner again. Once you’ve gone through this relationship-building process with your horse, you’ll be a much better and more confident horseperson. Even though a lack of confidence can be disheartening, it can also be a journey to a better bond with your equine companion!

Jason Irwin, along with his wife Bronwyn, operate Jason & Bronwyn Irwin Horsemanship. They teach clinics, provide training materials, and demonstrate at some of the biggest horse expos in the world. Jason is also part of the family business Northstar Livestock which specializes in raising big blue roan quarter horses. 12

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the road to lameness Capone — powerful in CavalloSport Horse Hoof Boots

Ringbone can be painful, debilitating, and degenerative. It takes place in the pastern joint, referred to as high ringbone; and/or in the coffin joint, referred to as low ringbone. This bony overgrowth, more formally known as exostosis, forms where the ligaments attach to the coffin bone. When advanced, the additional bone growth may circle the entire pastern and create a ring, which is where the condition gets its name.

A DARK ROAD TO TRAVEL DOWN The longer ringbone is left, the harder it is to reverse. It’s a painful condition because the coffin bone area is constantly moving. There may also be inflammation that places uncomfortable pressure on the joint. Ringbone is commonly thought to be the result of an injury to the joint, but an event of physical damage usually does not occur. Typically, signs of ringbone appear slowly over time — a shortened stride, tripping (especially going downhill), pointing the toe, shifting weight, the presence of heat accumulation and other subtle signs. The horse may then begin to take intermittent lame steps,

A better understanding of ringbone in horses will help you take effective steps toward prevention and recovery.

which will eventually develop into consistent lameness.

natural way of moving, this disease can be prevented and reversed.



A properly functioning hoof will smoothly and effortlessly roll over the toe. It adapts to the terrain and supports the horse’s movement with effortless and flexible motion. The hoof should expand and absorb shock. It should remain supple and adaptable to encourage blood circulation, bearing the nutrients and oxygen required for health. Limiting fluid motion with the rigid inflexibility of a metal shoe inhibits these actions. Shoes make rollover abrupt and sudden, stressing the joints and cellular tissues and distorting already straining cartilage, connective tissue and corium. The result is the anatomical challenges, ossifications, stresses and strains that lead to ringbone. Corrective shoeing, stall rest, injections, various pharmaceuticals and operations can mask ringbone for a time, but the real cure must come from addressing the source of the problem. By supporting your horse’s

Conformation, injury, and other external factors can cause ringbone, but for the most part, it is due to the hoof treatment. Good trimmers are equipped to perfectly balance weight-bearing and movement by considering various pastern angles, breakover and the individual animal’s movement. Other modalities that assist in the healing process are light or PRP (plasma replacement therapy), acupuncture and chiropractic treatment and massage, while ointments can help to relieve pain without adverse side effects. By choosing treatments wisely, horses can live long, healthy lives after ringbone.

Carole Herder is the author of #1 bestselling books There Are No Horseshoes in Heaven and Hoofprints on the Journey. Her company, Cavallo, manufactures and distributes Cavallo Hoof Boots and Saddle Pads to 26 countries, and all Cavallo products are designed and developed by Carole. She's an honored recipient of the BCBusiness Women Innovator Award, Royal Bank of Canada Woman Entrepreneur Award, a member of the Women Presidents' Organization and a certified Chopra University Yoga Instructor and Ayurvedic Teacher. Equine Wellness



Benefits of connecting with horses during the pandemic Connecting with our horses is always beneficial for our well-being. But amid a global pandemic it offers even more advantages. By Fotini Chandrika Walton

In these times of social distancing and restrictions that limit our in-person connections, horses offer us exactly what we need. They serve to remind us that even in the absence of closeness, we can still experience a sense of connection to one another through our thoughts and energy. If we increase our vibration (see sidebar below), we can improve our sense of connection even further rather than “shutting down” from the ones we love. We can continue to feel their energetic embrace, and turn this daunting global challenge into an incredible opportunity for personal and interpersonal development. In this article, we’ll look at how horses can be our greatest teachers as we navigate the pandemic and the deep emotional and physical shifts it has created.

EQUINE ENERGY VS. HUMAN ENERGY Have you ever walked into a barn and noticed the diversity of energy among the horses? If horses are in the same environment and receiving the same care, why is it that one horse can show signs of depression (head hanging low with a blank stare), while another is alert, energetic and seemingly happy? Horses in captivity maintain their health and happiness through connection and expression. Their energy is greatly affected by the attention and genuine appreciation they receive from their caretaker. If a horse isn’t given the love and care he deserves, he’s much more likely to become a

Understanding vibrational energy Vibrational energy can be described as the electromagnetic field emanating from one’s physical body, namely, the heart. This vibrational field is approximately an arm’s length around the body and actually receives information before the brain. The electromagnetic field is the intelligence of the heart and is responsible for intuitive responses or “vibes”. 14

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“shut down” horse, expressing an attitude of being unloved, unheard and, in the worst of cases, deemed “useless”. In the human world, the same holds true of our needs. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we face increasing numbers of similar “shut down” humans, with cases of depression and addiction continuously on the rise. According to Psychology Today, the “opposite of depression is expression” and the “opposite of addiction is connection”. If this holds true, it reveals that connection and expression are invaluable components for holistic wellness — a theory that we see reflected time and time again through our equine partners and other domesticated companions.

HEART-FOCUSED CONNECTION IN LOCKDOWN In the wild, horses generally stand about a meter apart to avoid collision. In many cases, they value space over touch, and prefer to bond with each other with physical distance between them. Horses are deeply attuned to subtle energy and rely on this awareness to communicate and, ultimately, survive as prey animals. Social distancing offers us the opportunity to connect with one another in the same way that horses do — on a deeper yet subtle energetic level. The HeartMath Institute’s extensive research studies show that certain emotions such as gratitude, compassion and love are regenerative to the heart. This explains why horses who have a deep connection with their caretakers and/or herdmates are happier and healthier. It’s important to recognize that a life of captivity for horses can often resemble our pandemic “lockdown” — little space to move in comparison to the 20 miles they could travel in one day in the wild. With this lack of freedom comes a less diverse herd environment and limited foraging opportunities. Nonetheless, horses have learned to adapt in captivity and, with the support of their humans, can still thrive in a less than natural environment as long as heart-focused connection is a priority.

According to the HeartMath Institute website: “Research shows the human heart is much more than an efficient pump that sustains life. Our research suggests the heart also is an access point to a source of wisdom and intelligence that we can call upon to live our lives with more balance, greater creativity and enhanced intuitive capacities. All of these are important for increasing personal effectiveness, improving health and relationships and achieving greater fulfillment. In recent years, we have conducted a number of research studies that have explored topics such as the electrophysiology of intuition and the degree to which the heart’s magnetic field, which radiates outside the body, carries information that affects other people and even our pets, and links people together in surprising ways.”

INCREASING HEART-FOCUSED CONNECTION THROUGH BREATHWORK There are many ways to connect with the horses and humans in your life (see sidebar at right) and increase the positive vibration of your heart. One of the most efficient ways is through heart-focused breathing. This type of breath exercise is about directing your attention to the heart area and breathing a little more deeply than normal. As you inhale and exhale, imagine you are breathing through your heart as opposed to your lungs. Breathe in for a count of six seconds, and out for six seconds. Bring awareness to the breath and allow it to flow in and out with a smooth, natural rhythm and ease.

Additional activities to enhance heart-focused connection  Spend time in nature, noticing the vibration of the natural world around you and how it makes you feel.  B e in stillness with your horses, allowing yourself to “be” rather than “do”.  Practice compassion for humans and horses; notice if you are judging others and replace that judgment with understanding.  Breathe. The breath is the gateway to a higher and healthier vibrational frequency. By simply breathing, you will make your horse feel safe and increase the interspecies connection between you.  Listen to other horses and humans without reaction or response. Practice simply listening. This practice goes a long way in making others feel safe and heard.  B ring your journal along to the barn. Expressing our thoughts and feelings helps to clear our vibrational field of stagnant energy.

In the beginning, placing your hand on your chest as you breathe can help direct your focus to your heart. While you practice this breathing technique (on your own or in the presence of your horses), mindfully cultivate regenerative emotions such as gratitude, compassion, appreciation and love. Heart-focused breathing does not require a lot of time and offers plenty of benefits to overall well-being. The more we practice feeling good with an open and grateful heart, the more we will experience connection with our horses and loved ones. COVID-19, with all its challenges, is offering humanity the opportunity to tap into our hearts and expand our individual and collective vibration. Doing so will heighten our intuition, align us with the sensitive awareness of our horses, and keep us together in cohesion as a “herd” even while we are physically apart. Fotini Chandrika Walton has had a lifelong fascination with Horses. Growing up in Toronto, Ontario, she had very little exposure to horses. When she was in her early twenties, Fotini followed her passion and moved to the countryside to explore her connection with the majestic horse. Through many winding roads in the horse world, Fotini finally found her purpose rooted in studying the horse-human bond, horses in art and spirituality and interspecies communication. Fotini is the founder of a unique equine-guided wellness modality; Horse Wisdom Yoga®, where humans and horses find deeper purpose and connection through presence of mind, flow of body and awareness of breath. Fotini and her horses reside in Ontario at Red Barn Wellness Farm where they offer private equine-guided wellness sessions, group retreats, training opportunities and support services. Equine Wellness





By Jessica Putnam, BVMedSci(Hons), BVM BVS(Hons), MRCVS

Most horse caretakers will have to administer medication to their horse at some point. When that time comes, keep these tips and considerations in mind!

Administering medication to your horse or pony correctly is important to ensure he receives the correct dose. Not only is this a safety concern, it also helps ensure that the medication has the best chance of achieving the desired effect. The majority of medications or preventative treatments (e.g. wormers) you will be administering to your horse yourself are via the oral route — given into the mouth. We all know how challenging it can be to get horses to comply with this, so read on for some handy tips and tricks to make your life easier when it comes to administering medication to your horse.

ADDING TO THE FEED + Dampening a feed can help powdered medication to stick so it doesn’t get left behind in the bucket. + Adding apple juice, molasses or carrot mash can sweeten a feed and help disguise the taste of any medication (often it has a bitter flavor). + Giving medication in a small volume of the horse’s usual feed will help you to know if she’s eaten all of the medication — she can then go on to eat the remainder of her usual feed once you know the required dose has been consumed. + Hiding medication in a treat — for small volumes of powdered medication or a small number of tablets, sometimes hollowing out a carrot or apple can be helpful. 16

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MIXING A PASTE If you are making up a paste to syringe the medication directly into your horse’s mouth, try to make the paste relatively thick — it can be very easy for a horse to spit a thin paste straight out! Mix the powder with the smallest amount of water possible. Alternatively, use applesauce or even custard as the base to create a good consistency. Applesauce or custard may also disguise the taste and improve compliance! Below are steps to follow when administering medication via a syringe: Use a wide-tipped dosing syringe — ask your veterinarian for one if you don’t have any available.


Give the syringe a good shake immediately before administering the medication.


Ensure that the horse’s mouth is empty before you start so she cannot spit the medication out in a big mouthful of roughage.


Make sure that you have good control of the horse’s head, insert the syringe into the space between the horse’s front teeth and cheek teeth, and push down on the plunger once she starts making a chewing action.



Remember to lift the horse’s head up until she has swallowed!

If your horse does not tolerate being syringed well, for example, when giving a wormer, it is worth taking time to retrain her to allow this to be done, as you never know when you might need to give a course of veterinary treatment in this way.

OTHER THINGS TO THINK ABOUT Some medication is most effective when given on an empty stomach, for example, oral gastric ulcer medications and oral sedatives. Always check with your vet to determine whether a medication needs to be given at any particular time, such as with/before/ after feed, and how far apart the doses need to be spaced. You should always ensure that your horse or pony completes the full course of treatment that has been prescribed. Any open and unused (or out of date) medication should be returned to your veterinary surgeon for safe disposal.

Having ridden her first pony at the age of three, a continued love of horses sparked Jessica Putnam's interest in becoming a vet, and she qualified from the Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. Jess has worked in equine veterinary practices in Lancashire and North Yorkshire ever since, including undertaking an internship at Rainbow Equine Hospital. She enjoys all aspects of her role in clinical practice, including ambulatory and hospital work, and also has a passion for client communication and education — she regularly runs owner education workshops in her practice in North Yorkshire.



peak health

Equine Medical and Surgical Associates LLC. offers products and educational resources designed to help horse caretakers provide the best for their equine companions.


eterinarian Dr. Frank K. Reilly, DVM, has 32 years of experience working with animals — and he’s dedicated to sharing that expertise. His mission to help others improve the health and well-being of their horses is the driving force behind Equine Medical and Surgical Associates LLC, a company that offers a variety of supplements for horses with insulin resistance, heaves/COPD, joint problems, and much more. His website, equinemedsurg.com, has become a highly respected platform where horse lovers can obtain education and products that support his overarching mission, and seek direct advice from Dr. Reilly himself.

A focus on wholistic health Since before the launch of Equine Medical and Surgical Associates, Dr. Reilly has upheld and promoted the fact that proper diet and exercise are essential for horse health. “Our supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease,” he says. “They were designed to help maintain horse health, not act as magic bullets for any ailment.” This primary focus on a healthy lifestyle is why Dr. Reilly has always placed education at the forefront of his company. He believes that nutritional supplements are only one component of good health, and that the key to thriving horses lies in taking a wholistic approach.

Diverse products for diverse symptoms Over the years, Dr. Reilly and his associates have worked together to

design a wide range of herbal equine supplements, each with different uses. HEAVE HO is formulated with adaptogens, high dose vitamin E and balanced minerals that work to improve breathing in horses with heaves/COPD and other respiratory issues. Comfort Quik is a hemp-based joint complex for equines with mobility issues. Health-E is a maximum strength vitamin E powder recommended for horses on dirt lots, with neurological issues, liver problems, eye disorders, skin damage, muscle soreness and more. Perhaps the company’s most wellknown product, HEIRO™ is the top supplement in the USA for insulin resistant horses. Designed to get horses back on pasture, HEIRO helps Cushing’s horses with insulin problems, and works to eliminate foot pain during the cold winter months. It’s formulated with natural herbs, high concentrations of vitamin E, and pharmaceutical-grade magnesium, and contains no fillers,

artificial colors or preservatives. Every purchase of HEIRO comes with a free consult, during which horse caretakers, veterinarians or farriers can learn more about the product and its benefits. Over the years, Dr. Reilly has worked on world record racehorses, show hunters and jumpers, backyard pleasure horses and ponies, and even donkeys. In each case, he has urged caretakers and trainers to consult their veterinarians and farriers regarding information and products obtained from Equine Medical and Surgical Associates. “I respect the veterinarianclient relationship, and always want to ensure that our supplements are medically indicated,” he says. “It takes a village to raise a healthy horse, and all of us at Equine Medical and Surgical are proud to be part of that village!”

equinemedsurg.com Equine Wellness



Q& A By Stephanie Sawtelle


l a n o i t o em needs HEALING HORSE FOR THE


This useful Q&A is designed to help you look beyond the physical needs of your healing horse in order to cater to his emotional well-being.

At some point in their lives, most horses find themselves recovering from injuries, disease, or one of many acute or chronic conditions that can affect their physical well-being. In addition to proper first aid, veterinary care, medicines, supplements, and management of the physical aspects of healing, it’s also important to consider horse's emotional needs during these times of stress. Often, it’s necessary to alter or modify a horse’s normal routine of feeding, turn out, and exercise to accommodate physical healing, and these modifications can cause stress and have a negative effect on emotional well-being. 18

Equine Wellness

So, how to we minimize this stress? How do we balance a horse’s physical needs with his emotional needs while healing? This Q&A-style discussion will help sift through some of the nuances of this sometimes tricky process, and offer some helpful tips and considerations to pull from should you find yourself in the position of caring for a healing horse.


My horse was prescribed stall rest by my vet. What can I do to provide proper stimuli during this time? This is a common occurrence, and there are several simple

things to consider that will account for your horse’s needs and ward off boredom and stress as much as possible. First, make sure your horse has access to appropriate forage at all times. An empty digestive system can cause physical problems that can lead to emotional stress and unwanted behaviors. Consider mixing a few types of hay for variety (after checking with your vet for any restrictions or recommendations), and feeding from different nets, feeders, hay pillows, or other feeding systems that encourage a bit of maneuvering, moving from place to place, or problem solving to access

forage. This can also be done with complete/senior feeds if your horse is not allowed hay, or also a small number of treats to encourage seeking and exploration. Second, having companions is important in minimizing emotional stress. Arrange for your horse to at least be able to see and hear other horses at all times. This may look like keeping a friend or friends in nearby stalls or turn out areas. Even better is allowing your horse opportunities to physically touch a trusted herd mate. This may look like a shared fence line (if he is allowed a small paddock or pen outside), adjoining stalls with a low partition or bars rather than a solid, high divider, or making time for stall front visits from a quiet horse friend who is on lead.

Do your best to account for the “three Fs” of equine wellness:


(safe and appropriate movement),


(familiar and trusted companions), and


(steady availability without having to compete).

Third, once forage and friendship needs are accounted for, consider the addition of frequent visits from trusted and calm human companions that include hanging out, grooming, or even a bit of simple clicker or trick training that is safe given the small space and any physical restrictions as recommended by the vet. If you have a particularly curious and busy horse, you may want to rotate through safe toys or other novel items for your horse to investigate. Research enrichment ideas for horses that safely fit your horse’s circumstances. Equine Wellness


Become educated about

equine body language

and use the feedback you receive from your horse as a guide.

My horse has been on extended stall rest. He is stressed and so am I! My horse is picking up on my emotions, right? How can I keep my nerves, worries, and negative emotions from making the situation worse?



The best thing to do here is be honest. This is a stressful time for you both. Negative emotions are likely running high and we can’t hide our emotions from our horses, nor should we. It’s important to know that your horse is more comfortable with you being honest and up front about how you feel, even if that is worried, stressed, sad, or scared, than if you show up trying to pretend you’re calm, confident, and happy when you’re not. Horses will feel safer with someone who is congruent (emotions, body language, and energy that all match) than with someone who is incongruent (feeling one way but trying to come across as something else). That being said, work through your own emotions in a way that will serve both of you without causing harm, additional stress, or risking your safety. For example, if you are scared to hand walk your stall-rested horse, find practices that make the task less scary. You could ask a more confident and less emotionally invested person to hand walk your horse. Or, maybe plan to have 20

Equine Wellness

a familiar and quiet equine companion join him during his walk. You could also ask your veterinarian about natural calming remedies that may make the experience physically safer for both of you if your horse is in an explosive emotional state. If you are sad, it’s okay to cry, vent, or journal about your feelings — they are understandable given the circumstances! If you are frustrated or anxious, find a trusted friend or professional to brainstorm solutions to your challenges or give you a realistic perspective on those worst-case scenarios that plague your thinking. Remember, too, that you can always pause and take a breath. I have a rescue horse with chronic health issues including recurring abscesses, allergies, and arthritis. Sometimes I must limit her movement to keep her comfortable, limit exposure to environmental factors that she’s allergic to, and keep her separate from the other horses to keep her safe. The things I do seem to help her physically but at times cause stress emotionally. When do you draw the line to let a horse be a horse? When do I prioritize emotional well-being over physical well-being when the physical care takes an emotional toll on my horse?



This is a nuanced and dynamic situation that is best navigated with common sense, creativity, persistence, a trusted team of professionals, and a constant awareness of what your horse is communicating to you. Physical and emotional well-being are interconnected and can be difficult, if not impossible, to separate from each other. There is no black and white answer, but there are a few important considerations to keep in mind. Do your best to account for the “three Fs” of equine wellness — freedom (safe and appropriate movement), friends (familiar and trusted companions), and forage (steady availability without having to compete). These have both physical and emotional implications. You may need to get creative and develop several different options to choose from depending on your horseʼs restrictions from day to day. Build a network of trusted professionals to consult with who can help you weigh the changing pros and cons, brainstorm solutions, and guide you to the best decisions on behalf of your horse. These may include vet, farrier, behaviorist, bodyworker, animal communicator, etc. Last but not least — listen to your horse! Become educated about equine body language and use the feedback you receive from your horse as a guide. He will tell you when a situation, circumstance, or method is tipping the scales towards stress or calm. I would recommend learning about trigger stacking in horses so you can recognize and mitigate the buildup of stressors.

Stephanie Sawtelle is an expert on the dynamics of the horsehuman relationship on the physical, emotional, and energetic levels. Whether for the purposes of equestrian endeavors, personal growth, or healing, she facilitates meaningful horsehuman interactions with a focus on the mind-body connection, emotional intelligence, and intuitive development. Find out more about her at StephanieSawtelle.com.


Healing herbal supplements FO R YO U R H O R S E’ S G U T

Adored Beast Apothecary uses a unique blend of herbs to create nutrient-dense supplements for horses.

When horse lover Julie Anne Lee adopted a shire draft horse named Joseph, he was riddled with health issues, and in dire need of some intense TLC. Julie made it her mission to give him just that. She began seeking ways to help him heal effectively, both inside and out, using natural products and holistic methods. But she soon discovered that “natural” and “effective” rarely co-exist when it comes to equine health products, so she decided to create her own. Julie began working with longtime friend and equine nutritionist Sarah Griffiths, whose horse Kingsley was born with only one working kidney. For Sarah, a conventional health plan was a no-go, so she and Julie worked to formulate products that were non-toxic, nutrient-dense, and highly supportive for the gut. The fruits of their labor — a new line of equine supplements branded under Julie’s company, Adored Beast Apothecary — will be released this summer.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE PRODUCTS Adored Beast Apothecary was built on Julie’s 20 years of clinical experience in animal health. The equine line features a range of herbal, homeopathic, and nutraceutical combinations that are completely unique. “Our philosophy is that these are all nutrient-dense and

complementary to an overall wellness program for your horse,” says Sarah. “You can use them as nutrition or preventative support, or you can use them as more of a support tool for pre-existing conditions.”

NATURAL AND EFFECTIVE INGREDIENTS One of the most interesting ingredients used in this new equine line is an equine-specific probiotic, Lactobacillus equi. Found in Equine Gut Soothe, it’s the first equine-derived probiotic backed by scientific research. Most probiotics on the market are formulated using bovine (cow) probiotics, but Lactobacillus equi is derived from the horse GI tract, and from the manure of healthy horses. It has been proven to survive and get to where it needs to be, delivering the beneficial bacteria a horse needs for optimal gut health.


The line features an equine-specific probiotic, Equine Gut Soothe, an Equine Liver Tonic, and a joint support product called Equine Jump 4 Joynts. “These products are not only for animals struggling with different health challenges, but also offer really amazing support for performance horses and to help young horses as they grow,” says Sarah. “This is specifically true of the Equine Gut Soothe. Gut health is becoming such a wide field of study, for both humans and animals, and there’s more emphasis on how important it is to support your horse’s gut health no matter what life stage they’re at.”

Thanks to Equine Gut Soothe and regular blood testing, Julie and Sarah were able to normalize Kingsley’s kidney values by focusing on supporting his gut. He’s now a full-time performance horse, and is as healthy as a… horse! As for Joseph? He happily lived out his days surrounded by love at Julie’s rescue farm in Nova Scotia, Joseph’s Field. “Our goal at Adored Beast Apothecary is to help as many animals as possible, so we’re continuously working to find the best formulations to help support health and longevity,” says Sarah. “Our newest venture is our own mushroom farm, so stay tuned — equine medicinal mushroom formulas are in the works!” Equine Wellness


How to prevent and heal

proud flesh By Cliff Faver, DVM

Most horses will get wounded at some point in their lives. When scrapes and cuts happen, follow these tips to prevent the development of proud flesh — and heal it quickly when it does occur. Imagine being out for a ride when your horse suddenly gets spooked, runs into a fence, and cuts himself. The wound is not bad enough to suture, so you decide to take care of it yourself. You grab the betadine or chlorhexidine, a bucket, and gauze. You dilute the product, scrub the area well and rinse, apply salve, and bandage the wound. Then you repeat the same process twice daily. Unfortunately, within a couple of weeks, the laceration starts to develop exuberant granulation tissue or proud flesh despite your consistent care. Now you must call the veterinarian to surgically remove it and start the process all over again. Why does this always seem to happen, and how can you prevent it?

UNDERSTANDING PROUD FLESH (AND WHAT NOT TO DO) A layer of fatty acids and oils known as the sebum covers the skin and creates a watertight barrier that protects and feeds the skin. When the skin is penetrated or compromised, this barrier is broken down. In order to heal, the skin must 22

Equine Wellness

re-epithelize (replace the cells) and restore the sebum layer. Our goal should be to assist in this process. However, if the wrong approach is taken, we can do more harm than good. Betadine and chlorhexidine are sufficient as antibacterial/ antifungal scrubs or shampoos. Products containing these ingredients are designed to remove skin debris, and both are harsh and work as astringents. However, they have a very drying effect. When tissue dries it contracts and creates inflammation with movement. Salves are often used to solve this problem, but salves are emollients or heavy oils that sit on the surface of the skin holding moisture in. If the skin is dry to start, the emollients just hold the dryness in and repel water from getting into the skin. Before applying the salve, most horse caretakers scrub the wounded area with gauze. Mechanical cleaning is often necessary to remove any debris. But subsequent cleanings should be more geared toward removing the salve and skin debris (caused by inflammation). If you scrub every time you clean the wound, you’ll irritate the tissue, causing inflammation, which will stimulate the body to react and start the process of granulation/building scar tissue. Scrubbing also removes healthy baby cells that have formed, delaying the healing process and reinjuring the wound (creating more inflammation) each time.

Apply a poultice Next, horse caretakers typically bandage the wound to keep it clean. But this starves the wound of oxygen — another element, like moisture — that the healthy cells need to survive. When we break down the process, it becomes apparent why proud flesh occurs. These methods have not changed much in the past 50 years. Maybe it’s time to rethink the course of action. There are various products and methods that are helpful. Below is a list of what steps should occur when caring for wounds.


The wound must be protected ASAP with a sebum-like product before drying occurs

For this step, reach for one of the following oils:

A red clay and ginkgo oil poultice can be applied to almost any wound to speed healing. As soon as the wound is cleaned of debris, apply the poultice and leave it on for up to 24 hours (no longer). Rinse it off and repeat steps two and three (below left), sponging the product with minimal to no scrubbing. Repeat this process once daily for the first couple of days until the wound begins to form healthy granulation tissue (a sign of healing). Stop the poultice and proceed with just the cleansing every couple of days and eventually extend it to once a week. If the wound is gathering a lot of debris, clean more regularly. Apply the oils twice daily to fight infection and inflammation. The healing process is a little involved in the beginning, but not nearly as complicated as removing proud flesh and starting over!

• Ozonized olive oil (antibacterial/antifungal/ anti-inflammatory) • Ginkgo oil (anti-bacterial/anti-inflammatory/ controls excess sebum production) • Oligoelements (contain trace minerals)


Clean the wound using the least amount of mechanical cleaning possible with mild products (non-astringents)

The following products work well for this step. They should be left on the wound for at least five minutes before rinsing. • A sulfur-based product (such as Zolfo) as an anti-fungal • Mineral Plus Crème Shampoo — honey-based, works as an antibacterial Bacteria and fungus are in competition so it’s best to treat both at the same time.


Hydrate the wound using a humectant conditioner, which draws moisture in the skin

Look for a pH balancing conditioner formulated for animals (don’t use human products). Leave on for eight to ten minutes, then rinse.


Bandage the wound — or don’t

If the wound needs to be bandaged, use the least amount of bandage material possible so it can breathe and heal. In many cases you can also leave it unbandaged, as a small amount of oil on the wound will repel debris. When it comes to healing wounds and preventing proud flesh, the ultimate goal is to minimize inflammation, gently prevent bacteria/fungus, hydrate, and feed the tissue so it can heal naturally. Scrubbing, drying, and restricting oxygen is a great recipe for failure. If we keep doing it the same old way, how can we expect different results? Dr. Cliff Faver graduated with a BS in Biology/BA in Chemistry before getting a Veterinary degree in 1987 from CSU. He is the past owner of Animal Health Services in Cave Creek, Arizona and now the US distributor for Iv San Bernard products as well as an international speaker. He has served on Novartis Lead Committee (with top dermatologists from USA/Canada), Hill’s International Global Veterinary Board, and a Veterinary Management Group.

From left: Original puncture wound; Poultice with red clay and ginkgo oil; Wound after first treatment; Proud flesh growth after three to four weeks of standard care; Wound healed and hair regrowth after five weeks of care.

Equine Wellness




BAN HORSE SLAUGHTER The Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act would permanently ban horse slaughter in the U.S. and end the export of horses for slaughter abroad.

On May 19, 2021, federal lawmakers reintroduced legislation to permanently ban horse slaughter in the United States and end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad. Sponsored by U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), the Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act is supported by leading animal welfare groups, including the ASPCA®, the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and the Humane Society of the United States. “For centuries, horses have embodied the spirit of American freedom and pride,” says Congresswoman Schakowsky. “They are our companions, work partners, entertainers, and athletes. With such a special place in our nation’s history it’s beyond time that we end the brutal practice of slaughtering these majestic creatures as food for humans.” “The slaughter of horses for human consumption is a barbaric practice that has no place in America,” adds Congressman Buchanan. “I look forward to continuing to lead the effort with Congresswoman Schakowsky to ban domestic horse slaughter and end the export of horses abroad for the same purpose.” “Each year, a huge number of American horses are shipped to foreign slaughterhouses to be butchered under shockingly inhumane conditions,” says Cathy Liss, president of AWI. “Some are former racehorses who have been recently dosed with drugs considered unsafe for human consumption. The SAFE Act would ensure that both horses and people are protected. We are grateful


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to Congresswoman Schakowsky and Congressman Buchanan for their dedication to ending the slaughter of horses for human consumption.” In recent years, the number of American horses shipped to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered for human consumption in foreign countries has dropped, making this an opportune time for Congress to close this legal loophole that causes so much suffering. Last year, over 35,000 horses were exported for slaughter, and research published in 2017 found that 2.3 million Americans have the interest and resources to adopt a horse. This means that every horse who might have been sent to slaughter could have a home waiting, if given the opportunity to find it. The SAFE Act would also protect the public from dangerous American horse meat, which can be toxic to humans due to the common, unregulated administration of drugs given to horses. Horses are not raised for food and are routinely given drugs and chemical treatments that are banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in food items because of their toxicity to humans if consumed. Products routinely used to care for horses, such as fly repellent, pain medications, and wormers, contain banned, toxic ingredients that are dangerous to humans. The ASPCA encourages the public to contact their U.S. representatives to urge them to cosponsor the SAFE Act, and secure its swift passage, to protect horses, their caregivers, and consumers.

Product Picks Fuel your equine athlete Daily Dose Equine™ Freestyle Performance Feed (Trail Mix) is a non-GMO whole food for performance horses. It’s high in fat and fiber and offers the nutrition and energy that many feeds are missing. This product is lower in non-structural carbohydrates and high in crude protein, meaning that less is required to build muscle while keeping the digestive tract healthy. Highly palatable, this feed also has a higher level of calcium for ulcer-prone horses.


What we love:

It’s wheat-free, soyfree and corn-free and contains no fillers.

Supplement your horse’s forage Vermont Blend Forage Balancer & Hoof Supplement is specifically formulated to fill the nutritional gaps in your horse’s forage by providing: • High levels of minerals to balance forage and support optimum hoof health • Amino acids for topline and muscle support • Prebiotic for digestive health It’s also low in sugar and starch, making it safe for metabolic horses. It contains everything your horses need, and nothing they don't — no added iron, soy or inactive ingredients.

What we love:

It’s available in 7lb, 13.5lb, 25lb and 50lb bags!


Prevent painful sand colic SandGuard by The Holistic Horse is a healthier alternative to using psyllium for sand removal. It contains 100% food-grade stone-ground organic flax seed, which traps and suspends sand, eliminating it from the body. This high quality product is delivered straight from the source, and cold stone-ground fresh the day it ships. Flax is very nutritious and loaded with Omegas for a healthy and shiny coat. It also helps support a healthy immune system. Order yours today!

What we love:

It works to prevent and kill parasites using no chemical ingredients.


Keep your horses parasite-free, naturally!

What we love:

Flax fiber is an excellent food for friendly bacteria in the intestine.

Earth Song Ranch synergistically blends 15 herbs and adds a rich yeast culture and diatomaceous earth to create a long-lasting, all-natural dewormer for horses. Some herbs are selected for their aroma and flavor while others act as a vermifuge or anthelmintic. Others are selected to set up a hostile environment for parasites. This product should be administered for five days during a full moon cycle.

earthsongranch.com/equine-herbal-wormer earthsongranch.com/herbal-wormer-for-minis

Equine Wellness


By Emily Watson

Take a look behind the scenes of the new hit film, Dream Horse — starring a whole herd of equine actors!


Equine Wellness

Photos courtesy of Kerry Brown / Bleecker Street & Topic Studios.



arning a “fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes and plenty of praise from horse lovers worldwide, the hit new movie Dream Horse has become a smashing success — much like its four-legged protagonist! Released on May 21, 2021, this film tells the inspiring true story of Dream Alliance, an unlikely racehorse bred by small town Welsh bartender, Jan Vokes (Academy Award® nominee Toni Collette). A lack of money and experience forces Jan to beg her community to support her in raising and training Dream to compete in the Welsh Grand National. Against all the odds, he becomes a great champion.

13 DREAM HORSES Most of us are familiar with the human stars that make up the leading cast of this film — but what about the equine stars? Not one but 13 horses played the role of Dream, including Bo, the primary or “hero” acting horse. According to director Euros Lyn, the filmmakers partnered with a company called The Devils Horsemen who have an incredible track record of providing horses for the film and TV industry. “Knowing what we wanted from Dream at various points in the story, they helped source all the Dreams that you see in the film,” he says. “Bo was our hero acting horse, whose gentle nature we all fell in love with.” The 12 other equine actors were used for different moments throughout the film. One, named Russell, was called upon whenever Dream galloped, while another three were great at the racing scenes. There were also stunt doubles, and two foals that played Dream in his younger years — his distinctive white blaze and socks were kept consistent with special horse makeup.

The supervising horsemaster, Camilla Naprous, also became quite connected to Bo. As the person responsible for training and preparing him for his scenes, she spent more time with Bo than anyone else on set. “My favorite thing about Bo is his calmness,” she says. “His training happened relatively quickly and he took it all in so calmly. He’s a great team player.” These bonds came in handy during the filming process, which wasn’t always easy. “Horses don’t really take direction, so the actors would do a take and if the horse wasn’t doing the right thing, we’d just have to wait until he was and try again,” says Euros. According to Camilla, positive reinforcement always

BONDING WITH BO As the hero acting horse, Bo developed a special bond with a few of the cast and crewmembers — including Toni Collette. “In the film we see Jan opening her heart to Dream,” says Euros. “While filming those scenes, I swear that Toni and Bo were spiritually in tune — he really was listening to her, and she was so enamored by him that she explored taking him back to Australia with her at the end of the shoot.” Opposite bottom left: Jan Vokes (Toni Collette) and Brian Vokes (Owen Teale) feed young Dream in Euros Lyn’s Dream Horse. Opposite bottom right: (Left to right) Brian, Nerys (Di Botcher), Gordon, Jan, Howard (Damian Lewis) and Maldwyn (Anthony O’Donnel) cheer on their underdog horse.

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A star is born In their search for the perfect horse to play the part of Dream, the casting crew came across Bo at a stable yard in Ireland. They were visiting the farm to see another horse when Bo caught their eye. The ten-yearold gelding happened to be the same color as Dream Alliance and had very similar markings, so they decided to cast him! Although Bo’s past is a bit of a mystery, it was immediately clear that he was very well trained. A talented show jumper, the chestnut beauty quickly adapted to life on set, and was willing to please right from the start.


Equine Wellness

helps in those types of situations. But Bo was often eager to perform even before he saw the treat bag!

LIFE ON SET Throughout the shoot, many of the horse actors — including Bo — lived on set for stretches of time. Much of the movie was shot at racecourses, all of which had excellent stabling facilities. Living there made it easier for Bo and his doubles to perform when scenes were being filmed, since they were already comfortable in their environment. In one particular scene, Bo had to lie down to feign an injury. For most horses, lying down on cue wouldn’t be an easy feat at any time, let alone when surrounded by actors, props and cameras. “When a horse lies down he is at his most vulnerable and instincts will tell him to get up quickly when he senses something around him,” says Camilla. “It takes a lot of trust between horse and trainer for the horse to stay lying down in that environment, and Bo was so trusting and performed perfectly.” You may not be able to spot the difference between Bo, Russell and the other stars of Dream Horse, but one thing’s for sure — you’re bound to fall in love with the character they so seamlessly portray. Visit dreamhorsemovie.com to watch on demand today!


Cue your horse

thoughts with your

By Carla Bauchmueller

Do you know those moments when you think of a cue and your horse does it? Here’s how to make those moments repeatable and communicate with your horse in a new way!


Believe it or not, your riding cues can be more impactful when you prepare them mentally — and it can make riding more enjoyable for both you and your horse! Think of ballroom dancers: the leading partner initiates the movement, and his partner follows. As an observer, you can’t see who initiated the movement — the pair just appears to move as one. That’s what it can be like with your equine companion!


If you visualize your next movement and establish clear mental intent before asking your horse to perform it, you can become one with your horse. Let’s say you want to achieve smoother transitions from a walk to trot. Before you even ask for the transition, create a clear image in your head of how you want this movement to feel. With some practice this will

only take a split second, but you can take more time when you first do it. Using this example, visualize: • How you want your horse to respond to a subtle cue from your leg. • A calm but engaged rhythm at the trot (you can even begin to count out the two-beats). • Balanced, in-sync movement with your horse.


Once you practice creating these visualizations, you may begin to feel them in your body. This can

Take your communication to the next level Ready to accelerate your learning even more? Take a photo or video of yourself riding and send it to Carla@theintuitiverider.com to receive personalized tips for better posture and improved communication with your horse.

help ensure you’re in the correct position, which your horse will pick up on before you cue her. As a result, your cues can be more subtle. After performing a successful transition, give yourself and your horse a break. End on a good note and give yourself time to let the good feelings register. Take a mental snapshot of the level of communication you just reached, so you’ll have an easier time replicating it next time. The clearer you are on what you want it to feel like, the more intuitive and automatic it will become.

A horse lover and rider all her life, Carla Bauchmueller studied firsthand in world renowned programs such as Sally Swift’s Centered Riding® and The Classical German Training System. What deepens Carla's teachings and sets her apart is her level of expertise in meditation, personal development and mindfulness training. This unique combination and expertise led her to create The Intuitive Rider. In live and online programs, she helps riders from all over the world to be more balanced, safer and more connected in the saddle, and also deeply work on the emotional and mental side of being a horse person. Equine Wellness



Gut health f or

performance horses to know

— what you n

ee d

By Julie Anne Lee, DCH and Sarah Griffiths, DCH

Competition season is here which means increased gastric ulcer risk! Learn how you can support your horse’s gut naturally to improve performance, reduce stress, and promote longevity in the show ring.

Did you know that gastrointestinal diseases like ulcers can significantly affect your horse’s ability to perform?1 It’s an issue that affects almost every system in the body. As gut and microbiome health make their way to the front of the priority line in the realm of human health, equine GI health practices are still in the dark ages. But failure to support your horse’s GI system can reduce her ability to withstand the wear and tear she experiences as a result of sporting, and put her health at serious risk.

GASTRIC ULCERS ARE ON THE RISE It’s estimated that 80% to 90% of today’s performance horses suffer from gastric ulcers.2 This seemingly epidemic rate of ulcers has been attributed to management techniques, diet, chronic stress and medications, particularly NSAIDs and antibiotics. Conventional therapies for Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS) include expensive drugs that can break the bank. And, as with most medications, drugs may only be a band-aid solution for the root cause of the disease. To get to the bottom of it, you need to understand the terrain of the equine gut, why it becomes damaged and what you can do to help your horse make a full recovery.


The entire length of the gastrointestinal tract is lined with specialized epithelial cells (the epithelium). These cells specialize in different functions depending on which part of the intestinal tract they reside in. They are protected by two mucosal layers that help regulate nutrient intake and regenerate to maintain vital GI health. The mucosa is also the home of the microbiome where the “healthy” bacteria live in the gut. These tiny organisms have the ability to aid in digestion, combat the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and synthesize important nutrients for your horse. They also stimulate an array of immune, endocrine, and nervous system functions. They can literally “talk” to the equine epithelial cells. By imagining this microscopic city of biological life, with a vast communication network that reaches to every cell in the body, we can appreciate just how integral gut EPITHELIAL CELL health is to the entire horse. 30

Equine Wellness

STEP 2: FOCUS ON THE MICROBIOME A healthy, diverse microbiome has the ability to produce a vast array of metabolites, including short chain fatty acids that help to modulate the immune system and regulate inflammation in the body tissues. When your horse’s GI mucosa becomes eroded, it destroys the delicate balance of the microbiome and leaves the epithelium exposed to incoming food, bacteria, fungus or anything else that might be traveling through the digestive tract. That’s when the microscopic society that once operated so efficiently begins to break down and the immune system begins to dysregulate. This process is known as dysbiosis or “leaky gut.” The immune system becomes misinformed in the absence of its communication network. It can begin to send the wrong signals and miss important incoming messages, resulting in uncontrolled inflammation. This is compounded by an individual’s environmental, physical and mental stress load. When a performance horse no longer has the ability to regulate her immune system, the everyday wear and tear that she goes through can become a big problem. That’s when inflammation can start to become chronic, and even life-threatening, throughout the body. Science shows that ulcers are also a precursor to colic, endocrine disease such as metabolic syndrome, and even neurological disease (all common in performance horses).3,4

IMMUNE MODULATION When the body doesn’t have a wellinformed immune system (including a healthy microbiome), it cannot modulate inflammation correctly. Immune modulation is the process in which inflammatory regulation is monitored and kept within necessary parameters to promote healing, followed by an efficient return to

homeostasis. Acute inflammation is necessary for promoting repair of tissue that becomes damaged. But chronic inflammation is simply an inability of the immune system to modulate the response. A healthy gut is integral to regulating inflammatory stress.

HOW TO HELP PREVENT CHRONIC INFLAMMATION IN YOUR PERFORMANCE HORSES Avoid NSAIDs When we think of conventional antiinflammatory management for performance horses, we sometimes reach for the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications. But did you know that these drugs actually damage your horse's gut? It can become a vicious degenerative cycle once a horse’s gut is damaged. The inflammation becomes more prevalent and then more NSAIDs are administered. If the situation allows, try improving your horse’s gut health first and then see where you’re at. Support the GI mucosal lining A healthy diet equals a healthy gut. Diet is the foundation for building the terrain of your horses’ gut. High starch diets are a contributing factor to EGUS.5,6 Eliminating processed food is the first priority! Many processed equine feeds also incorporate a large portion of genetically modified ingredients (GMOs). GMO foods like wheat, corn, soy, and sugar beets are heavily sprayed with the herbicide

glyphosate. It’s a hidden ingredient in horse feed. Glyphosate has been proven to cause disturbances in the gut microbiota in humans and animals.7 A number of nutritive herbs and nutraceuticals are scientifically proven to promote repair of the intestinal mucosa. Gut-restorative herbs include marshmallow root, licorice root, aloe vera and slippery elm bark. 8 Nutraceuticals are nutritional supplements that promote gut health and include n-acetyl glucosamine (NAG) and L-glutamine. Equine prebiotics are an integral part of the equine diet and occur in good quality forage, fiber, seasonal herbs and even tree bark such as larch and willow. Probiotics help regenerate the microbiome if it has become compromised. Be sure to include as many strains as possible, including equine-specific probiotics. Perform a lifestyle assessment Lack of movement, long periods of time without access to forage, and stressful changes to daily routines (such as horse shows) are all scientifically proven to increase ulcer risk.9 Be sure to evaluate your stable management procedures to ensure that your horse’s environment isn’t promoting development of EGUS. Apply some of these methods to help improve your horse’s longevity and her performance!

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jvim.13578 https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/veterinary-science-and-veterinary-medicine/equine-gastric-ulcer 3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6642651/ 4 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcimb.2020.00248/full 5 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/250039895_Carbohydrate_metabolism_and_metabolic_disorders_in_horses 6 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0737080611000050 7 https://nutritionrestored.com/wp-content/uploads/asgarosforum/264/IJHNFM_2016_v4q2p1_GlyphosateAcidosis-final.pdf 8 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3271691/ 9 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6335573/ 1 2

Equine Wellness


By Kevin Fenton

ica Lynn , DVM, and Jess

ost common m e th t a k o A lo s cer in horse types of can ps you can and some ste t rally preven tu a n to e k ta disease. this dreaded

r e c n Caevention FOR HORBSAEYS? pr— CAN YOU KEEP THIS DISEASE AT Like humans, horses can be affected by many different types of cancer. Perhaps the most common, tumors are often defined as abnormal growths or masses of tissue that continue to grow. Tumors may or may not be responsive to the horse’s natural immune response, which controls normal cell growth. They have a wide range of causes such as environmental toxins, pollutants, or too much sunlight on a horse with light skin. Skin tumors in horses are relatively common in all breeds and ages. They are also the easiest to diagnose and treat, with the three main types being sarcoids, melanomas, and squamous cell carcinomas. The main concern for any horse with a skin tumor is that it will metastasize and affect other parts of the horse’s body internally. Other cancers or metastasized cancers can be found in the oral cavity (including the nasal area), the pituitary gland (Cushing’s), kidney, liver, colon, bone and more. Unfortunately, most internal cancers aren’t caught until they are very large, at which point they are difficult to treat. 32

Equine Wellness

For the purpose of this article, let’s take a look at sarcoid and squamous cell carcinomas, as well as some prevention tips for melanoma-prone horses.

WHAT CAUSES CANCER? Causes of cancer vary widely depending on the type. Most sarcoids appear to be caused by an interaction between the skin surface and the papilloma virus — this virus causes “warts” or wart-like tumors in cattle and horses. Both the overall immune health and genetics of the horse can play a leading role. Squamous cell carcinoma is thought to be caused by ultraviolet radiation and exposure to tumor-causing carcinogens that horses are exposed to in their environment, including overuse of chemical fly sprays, chemical herbicides used in pastures, herbicides the horse ingests from hay, and/or overuse of chemical wormers that compromise the immune health of a horse. The exact cause of horse melanomas remains relatively unknown, but because they primarily affect light-colored

horses, it is likely a combination of sunlight exposure and the underlying genetics of the horse.

NATURAL PREVENTION Cancer is difficult to prevent, but there are a few steps you can take to lower your horse’s risk: • Use SPF-rated fly sheets and masks (ideally with ear and nose pieces) during the day. • Keep horses stalled or provide plenty of shade between 10am and 3pm. • Apply baby sunscreen (SPF 50 or higher) to pink noses and areas that might burn. • Perform routine full-body inspections of your horse to catch growths in their earliest stages. Contact your vet immediately to book a biopsy if you see any suspicious lumps, scaly or flaky skin, etc. • Feed a healthy diet (see sidebar on page 34).

THE ROLE OF HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENTS/REMEDIES Homeopathy is a system of medicine that differs substantially from conventional medicine. The word “homeopathy” originates from the Greek words Homios (similar) and Pathos (suffering). The cornerstone of homeopathic philosophy is that disease in a living creature can be cured by the administration of a substance that when given to a healthy individual would cause similar symptoms to the disease. The fundamental principle Similia Similibus Curentur means in Latin “let like be cured by like”. A basic example would be the use of the homeopathic remedy, Allium cepa, made from the red onion. We have all experienced the tearing eyes and the burning runny nose Equine Wellness


of nutrition in a healthy e c n a t r o p st The im vention. Inve in cancer pre , copper

C, E ys a key role ng vitamins Nutrition pla ent containi m le p p y of fresh su nt d le alance e with p rs ho ur yo feed and a b e provid l potency d be sure to its nutritiona se lo to s in and zinc, an hay beg be helpful to in mind that ments it can le p water. Keep p su to n io Echinacea, t, so in addit s immunity. hi st o o once it ’s cu b to rbs ts are rse some he oom extrac offer your ho ecific mushr sp d an s p , rose hi perties. ashwagandha boosting pro e un m im r ei known for th

f Symptoms hoorses cancer in e skin

n th r growths o • Nodules o f hair loss • Patches o patches • Scaly skin areas • Ulcerated

while working with onions! Those symptoms of increased secretions from the mucous membranes of the eyes and nasal passages are very common in hay fever or a cold and so a homeopath might prescribe Allium to someone with these symptoms. The conventional approach might be to try an antihistamine, where the effect of the medicine is contrary or opposite to the symptom. But unfortunately this will not resolve the underlying root cause. Homeopathy views the patient as a whole — a unity of physical, emotional, and mental parts. In viewing our animal patients in this holistic fashion we seek to understand what “individualizes” their disease process. Properly selected homoeopathic remedies “nudge” the patient’s lifeforce and immune system in a healing direction. Homeopathy is a complementary integrative medicine used not to replace or negate the benefits of conventional cancer treatment but to enhance and optimize healing and recuperation in conjunction with it. Let’s look at squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), the second most prevalent type of skin cancer. SCCs can cause ulceration, bleeding, burning and infection involving the muco-cutaneous junction where the skin blends into the sensitive pink membranes of the prepuce/sheath and penis, rectum, lips, oral cavity and eye. The homeopathic remedy for this type of cancer would be Nitric Acidum. Made from

Jessica Lynn is the owner of Earth Song Ranch. As a lifelong equestrian and professional animal nutritionist, homeopath, dowser, and animal intuitive, she is rarely separated from her passion and work. Earth Song Ranch is a feed additive and supplement manufacturer based in Southern California, using herbal blends, probiotics, and digestive enzymes for immune health for horses. Jessica has been involved in alternative health care, herbs, homeopathy, and nutrition for animals and humans for over five decades. earthsongranch@yahoo.com, www. earthsongranch.com. 34

Equine Wellness

nitric acid, this remedy has an affinity for the intersection of skin and mucous membranes where it causes ulceration and a burning tender sensation. Thuja is a very commonly utilized remedy in many tumor types because it helps to activate the body’s immune system response to cancer. Homeopathic Mercury helps in treating the destructive ulcers that are caused by SCC and the more serious type of sarcoid, the fibroblastic sarcoid. Multiple homeopathic remedies can be used to target particular symptoms of individual cancer types and their effects — burning, bleeding, post-surgical issues, secondary infection, pain and progression of tumor growth. While it’s not a cure, homeopathy can help us at least palliate the repercussions of cancer as it progresses.

Dr. Kevin Fenton has been a veterinarian for over 30 years using traditional veterinary medicine coupled with homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, essential oils and herbal remedies in his healing practices. He has worked with vets in Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, England and Spain learning multiple approaches to the art of veterinary medicine. He is Medical Director at All Creatures in La Quinta, CA working on small animals, and travels to ranches on weekends to work on horses and farm animals. He is available for constitutional homeopathic work ups or advice. kcritdoc@aol.com, www.drkevinsark.com.


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Understanding DECREASED ENERGY and PERFORMANCE in hot weather

By Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD

Gradually acclimate your horse to increases in work duration and intensity in the summer months.

A common concern this time of year among performance horse caretakers is that their horses seem to lack energy for exercise. If there are no apparent health or lameness issues but the horse is either “flat,” or starts out well but then hits a wall that is at a level of exercise below where they normally perform, the answer could be that it’s just too hot! The horse is a large animal, and this makes it difficult to dissipate heat. Horses expected to work in the heat should be gradually accustomed to it by stepwise increases in work duration and intensity. Use a heat index calculated by adding the temperature (in degrees Fahrenheit) and the relative humidity. If the heat index is 120 or less, there should be no barrier to heat dissipation. However, if the heat index is 150 or higher, especially with high humidity, the horse will have some difficulty cooling. At a heat index over 180, cooling mechanisms are severely compromised, and the horse should not 36

Equine Wellness

be worked. Flagging energy and slowing down will be the first signs your horse is overheating. Heed this warning.

IS FLUID TOPPED OFF? Exercise research has documented that as little as 2% dehydration will compromise performance. Work at low and moderate speeds will affect a horse more than high intensity efforts. This level of dehydration occurs even before you can detect a problem with the skin pinch test, so it’s easy to see how dehydration can easily be a problem with work in the heat. Providing plenty of fresh, clean water is obviously important to avoiding dehydration — but it’s not the

whole story. To retain that water in the body the horse needs adequate sodium. The major electrolyte lost in sweat is sodium and it is also highly deficient in both hay and concentrate feeds. Use a 2-2-2 rule to help guard against dehydration: two ounces of salt the night before a competition or heavy work, two ounces the morning of, and replenish with an electrolyte correctly balanced for sweat if the work is longer than two hours.

IS THE GAS TANK FULL? Many horse caretakers today are feeding diets designed to limit starch

and sugar intake. There is much to be said for this, but it can sometimes backfire if the horse is in regular work. The major fuels for muscle work are fat and glucose, with branched chain amino acids also contributing. The fat for muscle work is liberated from fat deposits throughout the body and there is never a shortage. Glucose is taken from the blood, but primarily from glucose stored in the muscle as glycogen. Glycogen in the liver is also used to keep blood glucose normal. Glycogen stores are limited so this is the fuel with the potential to limit work. Fat cannot be used to replace glucose. There is always a baseline glucose requirement. Glycogen stores are lowered by work and need to be replenished. The very low sugar and starch diet may not be able to keep up with losses. Timed feedings can get maximum benefit from a higher carbohydrate meal and also avoid aggravating insulin resistance. Feed 1 to 1.5 pounds of beet pulp (dry weight) with 1 to 1.5 pounds of plain oats within the first hour after work is finished.


THE BATTERIES OF LIFE Electrolytes are minerals that exist in the body in an electrically charged, ionized form. Those with positive charges are called cations; negative charges are anions. Electrolytes direct the movement of water throughout the body, and in and out of cells. A host of essential body functions depend on the presence and precise concentrations of electrolytes. These include: •T he production and secretion of sweat, saliva, intestinal tract fluids, urine and mucus • Heart contraction • I ntestinal movement (and other involuntary smooth muscle contraction, such as in the uterus) •A bsorption of nutrients across the intestinal wall and into the body cells • Skeletal muscle contraction • Nerve function • Maintenance of normal acid-base balance (pH) •M aintenance of normal hydration (the body containing roughly 70% water)

After exercise, there is a window in which muscle takes up glucose very readily. Even insulin resistant horses can receive extra carbohydrate in that time frame. The oats are easily digested to glucose to begin replacing glycogen. The beet pulp is fermented to acetate, which is more slowly released and can be used instead of glucose for energy functions, freeing up glucose for glycogen. Studies have confirmed acetate supports the glycogen replacement process. As a plus, you can get water and electrolytes into the horse at the same time, which research has shown is also important for replenishing glycogen. The above explanations account for the vast majority of horses with energy concerns in the summer. If you are having problems, consider them first. If energy concerns persist, a visit from the veterinarian may be in order.

Dr. Eleanor Kellon, staff veterinary specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition, has been an established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, and is a founding member and leader of the Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) group, whose mission is to improve the welfare of horses with metabolic disorders via the integration of research and real-life clinical experience. Preventing laminitis is the ultimate goal. ecirhorse.org

Sweat can be a major source of electrolyte loss but daily losses in urine, manure and mucus occur all year. Potassium, sodium and chloride are the major electrolytes of concern. Most hays provide potassium concentrations three to four times higher than needed so unless he’s sweating heavily, a horse getting plenty of hay or pasture will not need potassium supplementation. Sodium and chloride are another story. Sodium is the major electrolyte holding water in the body. Levels are very low in the diet. Hay/ pasture is the major source of chloride, but levels may be borderline and horses not getting generous amounts may be deficient. Plain salt is sodium chloride. An average-sized adult horse requires a minimum of one ounce of salt per day in cool weather and two to four ounces per day in hot weather. Instead of a brick, add salt to meals or dissolve and spray on hay. Use coarse, loose salt in a separate small feeder for additional free choice intake.

Equine Wellness





working with horses By Colleen Rutherford Archer

While working with large animals always poses a few hazards, the passionate horse lover is usually ready to accept them! Even as human bodies age and injuries take longer to heal, our love for our equine companions largely outweighs any potential risk. Still, there are a few ways seniors can maximize their safety when spending time with horses. Let’s take a look!



A major factor in safely interacting with horses is to find a match that suits the abilities of the rider/handler. An elderly or inexperienced rider needs a well-trained, sensible partner — not a Thoroughbred hot off the track!



The Irish had an expression my mother often used as she grew old. She said she was “growing down like a cow’s tail.” For seniors like me who are short and getting shorter, horse breeds like the Norwegian Fjord or the Icelandic Horse (nicknamed “ponies for adults” by some!) might prove to be a good choice. Even Queen Elizabeth, a truly excellent rider, switched to Fel ponies for recreational riding as she aged. On her advice, so did Canada’s most famous horse breeder and recreational rider, E.P. Taylor, who imported some Fel ponies from England.

As any senior equestrian can attest, age doesn’t affect one’s love of horses! Follow these tips to keep yourself safe at the barn throughout your golden years.

Robyn Hood, one of the founders and first President of the Canadian Icelandic Horse Federation, has sold hundreds of horses throughout the years, always with the guarantee that they can be returned if they prove to be unsuitable for the purchaser’s needs (which very rarely happens, says Robyn). According to Robyn, it’s paramount that people of any age are matched with the right horse. If you’re considering buying a horse, she advises, you should first experience it in situations similar to those you want the horse for. “The glamor of the show ring might be a person’s first inspiration when deciding to buy a horse,” she says, “but the reality

If you have it, it is for life. It is a disease for which there is no cure. You will go on riding even after they have to haul you on a comfortable wise old cob, with feet like inverted buckets and a back like a fireside chair... when I can't ride anymore, I shall still keep horses as long as I can hobble about with a bucket and a wheelbarrow. When I can't hobble, I shall roll my wheelchair out to the fence of the field where my horses graze, and watch them. 38

Equine Wellness

— Monica Dickens

Tips for Seniors Working with Horses

is that, once in the saddle, the largest number of Icelandic owners do most of their riding on the trail. They want a safe, rational, easy to gait horse.”



Senior riders should ensure they have all the usual safety gear for riding — safety stirrups, certified riding helmets, proper riding boots with a heel, etc. I would also recommend that seniors wear a padded equestrian protective vest. Ribs get more fragile as the years go by!

Two popular mottos in the health care field are movement is medicine and motion is lotion. These mottos make sense if you think of the synovial fluid that lubricates your joints as soothing lotion. Physical activity boosts the circulation of synovial fluid, helping to ensure our joints are “well-oiled”.


To stay safe, we need to be realistic. Even show jumping legend, Nick Skelton, who represented Britain for over four decades, eventually retired after winning the 2016 Olympic gold medal on Big Star.

7 4


Another good safety measure to follow is to buddy up when going out on the trails. At the very least, have the means of communicating with someone if an accident should occur. Even when riding in an arena, ring or field, this measure should be adapted. I knew one rider who was thrown from her horse in a field and spent the rest of the day with a broken pelvis watching the corn grow until her husband got home.



Horseback riding requires both strength and balance, but as we age our muscles weaken and our joints tend to lose range of motion. A doctor-approved exercise regimen can help keep us in the saddle.



Many seniors enjoy being around horses but no longer feel the need to ride them. There is, in fact, a Non-Ridden Equine Association founded in the UK that promotes alternate activities with horses ranging all the way from trick training and ground agility to meditative hikes with your horse. Whether you ride or not, don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something you’re not comfortable with, as that’s a recipe for disaster. There’s no need at this stage to prove anything to anyone!

Colleen Rutherford Arhcer and her husband Andrew operated a small stable in Deep River, Ontario for over 30 years. Colleen's specialty was equine trick training and she still owns a 21-year-old trick palomino Aurum and a 35 year-old old trick pony Timbit. Colleen has also worked with many dogs throughout the years. She is the author of seven young adult novels – three about dogs and four about horses. Now 72, Colleen rode until she was 68. Given the right horse and the right circumstances, she might just ride again.

Marvelous minis The miniature horse is an excellent choice for those wanting the horse experience but not wanting to work with full-size horses. “Miniature horses are horses in every way,” says Kendra Gale, president of the Western Canadian Miniature Horse Club. If you have a competitive drive, the miniature horse registry show circuits are as elite and competitive as the circuits of any other breed, with classes for both Golden Age and Youth. In fact, grandparents and grandchildren regularly enjoy the hobby together. For seniors wishing to participate in an event with a little higher speed, the Very Small Equine is the fastest growing division in the popular sport of Combined Driving. Miniature horses are also an ideal choice for those who want to share their love of horses with others. Their small size makes them ideally suited for therapy situations, giving them access to places that full-sized horses can’t go. “If you can’t imagine your life without a horse, a miniature horse is all the fun and companionship in a much smaller, less intimidating package,” says Kendra.

Equine Wellness



Improve your horse’s

skin health with acupressure

Lu 9 Ht 7

Sp 6

By Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis Medial



Here’s how performing regular acupressure sessions can promote the health of your horse’s organs and improve his skin from the inside out.


Your horse’s lustrous, shiny, healthy skin and coat come from inside out. In Chinese medicine, we know that when chi (life-promoting energy), blood and other vital substances are flowing harmoniously throughout the horse’s body, we can see it on the surface of his body. A rich, shiny coat is a reflection of how well his internal organs are functioning.

Ht 7 — F ound on the caudolateral aspect of the radius, proximal to the accessory carpal bone.

Skin is like a huge lung because it actually breathes and removes more gaseous toxins from the horse’s body than his breath. Accounting for approximately 6% of the horse’s overall body weight, skin is the intermediary organ between the environment and the underlying tissues and organs. As an essential component of the animal’s immune system, the skin is the first line of defense from the elements. Unfortunately, horses often fall prey to adverse skin conditions such as allergic reactions to insect bites, fungal and/or bacterial infections due to environmental factors, as well as more serious skin cancers. Additionally, stress, over-clipping, and lack of grooming can impact our horses’ skin health. As horse guardians, it is up to us to be constantly vigilant and aware of how our horses’ skin and coats look and feel. Watch for bumps, lumps, rashes, infections and dry skin — these are telltale signs that your horse’s skin is compromised.

A WHOLE BODY PERSPECTIVE In accord with Chinese medicine pathology, the Lung is directly responsible for the health of the skin. However, all of the organs must be functioning properly and optimally to support the Lung’s capacity to maintain the skin’s strength, moisture, and flexibility, needed to protect the body from external elements. For instance, the Heart must circulate warm, nutrient-rich, moist blood to the surface of the horse’s body to nourish the 40

Equine Wellness

Lu 9 — Located in the middle of the medial aspect of the foreleg, on the radial side of the carpus, between the 1st and 2nd row of carpal bones. Just cranial to the accessory carpal bone.

BI 17 — 3 cun lateral to the caudal border of the spinous process of the 12th thoracic vertebra, at the 12th intercostal space. Sp 6 — Found 3 cun above the tip of the medial malleolus.

skin. The Stomach, along with all the other organs along the gastrointestinal tract, has to break down food substances into bioavailable nutrients and body fluids to create blood for the Heart to generate warmth and circulation. The body is an integrated whole and each internal organ contributes to healthy skin in some manner.

AN ACUPRESSURE SESSION After thousands of years of clinical observation, Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors determined that certain acupressure points, also called “acupoints,” are known to enhance the richness and circulation of blood to specifically nourish skin and superficial tissues. You can offer your horse an acupressure session using the “Nourishing Skin Acupressure” acupoint chart two times per week to support healthy, protective skin.

Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis are the authors of ACU-HORSE: A Guide to Equine Acupressure, ACU-DOG: A Guide to Canine Acupressure and ACU-CAT: A Guide to Feline Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Resources offering books, manuals, DVDs, apps, meridian charts. and consulting services. Contact: 303-681-3030, animalacupressure.com, tallgrass@animalacupressure.com

Copyright Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Resources | 2005-current All Rights Reserved



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massaging your equine athlete

By Michail Bukin

Regardless of what discipline you practice with your horse, he can benefit from regular massage therapy. Here are a few things to know about this modality and how to apply it in the most effective way. Restoring the physiological state of sports horses in a timely manner is a key part of the training process. As physical demands increase during performance season, the importance of restorative measures also increases. Relieving fatigue in the body after exercise and preparing it for the next session is crucial for successful performance — and for the horse’s well-being. Massage is one of the most popular and effective ways to accomplish this. As many previously used pharmacological means of recovery are now considered unacceptable from the point of view of anti-doping control, this modality is more useful than ever.

A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF MASSAGE Massage has a therapeutic effect on the skin and deep-lying tissues. The 42

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use of this modality for the treatment and prevention of various diseases is well-known and, if performed correctly and in a timely manner, offers numerous benefits. The two main types of massage are: • Active massage — intense manipulation of tissues, ideal for horses with chronic joint, muscle or tendon-ligament issues • Passive massage — gentle manipulation of muscles, induces relaxed state, helps improve circulation to surface tissues Massage can be used for muscle fatigue, bruises, muscle atrophy, muscular rheumatism (after the

acute stage), myositis, paresis and paralysis, contractures, bursitis, and diseases of the joints and tendonligamentous apparatus. Massage is also an indispensable treatment for sports injuries, and in combination with thermal treatments it has a high therapeutic effect. It’s important to note, though, that the effectiveness of massage depends on many factors, including the knowledge of the basic rules of preparation and execution technique.

BASIC MASSAGE TECHNIQUES Stroking This method is carried out with sliding movements, mainly in areas where the lymph nodes and large saphenous veins pass. It is a gentler technique used when

deeper massage is unadvisable due to severe pain. Stroking is often considered a preliminary or preparatory technique. There are three types of stroking: Palm — mainly used for massaging flat surfaces (thigh, neck, shoulder, lumbosacral and gluteal). • Cross-shaped technique — work with both palms with bent fingers, massage body surfaces that have a rounded shape (lower leg, forearm, wrist joint, etc.). • Pincer-like technique — the tissues should be between the index and middle fingers, and the thumb. Used to massage the flexor tendons. • Stroking, regardless of its type, is performed in a central direction, slowly and rhythmically (10–12 massage movements per minute) while gradually increasing the pressure. Rubbing A technique in which the skin and deep-lying tissues are rubbed firmly in a circular direction with several fingertips of one or both hands. The ends of the fingers should move the skin, not slide over it. The skin may gather in small folds. To increase the efficiency of rubbing, you can use a cloth mitt or a soft rubber brush. Rubbing can be combined with stroking along the lymphatic vessels and use of warming, anti-inflammatory ointments.


massage guidelines There are a few basic guidelines to follow when it comes to massaging your horse:

Before the massage, the horse's skin should be thoroughly brushed and dried well.

Massage should be done with clean, dry hands.

Massage movements should be along the lymphatic vessels and towards the regional lymph nodes.

Massaging movements should not cause pain, defensive reactions, bruising or anxiety in the animal.

The horse must be in such a position that the muscles of the massaged area are in a state of physiological rest or complete relaxation.

Start the massage by lightly stroking the adjacent tissues, then massage the affected area.

To increase the effectiveness of massage, it can be combined with heat therapy, aromatherapy and other modalities. Clockwise from top left: Pincer-like technique; Felting; Rubbing.

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Kneading Kneading consists of shifting, lifting, pressing and squeezing muscles, and is performed using the following techniques: • Felting — often applied on the lower part of the limb. Place your hands on both sides of the area and move the palms in opposite directions. One hand can be lowered or directed forward while the other is raised or moved backward. • Squeezing — this kneading movement between the thumb and the rest of the fingers allows the muscles or tendons to be massaged by means of sliding non-stop pressure. This method is similar to squeezing the contents out of a toothpaste tube. The ideal duration of kneading depends on the size of the massaged area and the reason for massage. Kneading is a passive exercise for the muscles, so this technique should be carried out as a preventive measure after prolonged, intense work. Vibration A massage technique that consists of very small and rapidly repeated oscillatory movements performed by the fingers or an electric massaging device. The movement should be carried out along the muscle towards the nearest lymph node. This technique is often used for muscle fatigue, paresis and muscle paralysis.


A massage procedure consists of three stages:


I ntroductory (1–3 minutes) — use gentle techniques to prepare the body


ain procedure (5–20 minutes M or more) — perform a deeper tissue massage on entire body or areas of focus


ool down (1–3 minutes) — C reduce the intensity of the massage to return the horse’s body to a state of complete relaxation

The techniques used will vary depending on the horse’s health and areas of focus, but as a general rule of thumb can be distributed as follows:


stroking and vibrating


rubbing and squeezing



Massaging your horse can be an effective way to help him recover in periods of intense training, or a way to promote relaxation and prevent injury. If you’re unsure which techniques to use, get in touch with an equine massage therapist who can teach you more about this modality, and offer your horse professional sessions when needed.


— when NOT to massage your horse Massage should not be performed in the case of major injury, elevated body temperature, severe fatigue (immediately after a heavy exercise), or when skin diseases, burns, fresh hemorrhages and hematomas are present.


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Michail Bukin is the Kindle bestselling author of The Undoing of Tomorrow and 43 Reasons Why Having a Stutter is Actually a Good Thing. He is a freelance writer, future veterinarian, and a great stutterer. freelancehideaway.com.

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Researchers are investigating the link between obesity and asthma in horses in the hope that their findings will improve how the condition is diagnosed and treated.

Asthma is one of the most common respiratory problems seen in horses, diagnosed in all breeds and reportedly affecting between 10% and 20% of adult horses. Obesity is also seen as one of the most important welfare issues in horses, with statistics showing approximately half of all U.S. horses overweight or obese. Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers at Texas A&M University are investigating the association between these two conditions. If a link is identified, the findings will help improve our understanding, diagnosis and management of asthma, especially in obese equines.

“Veterinarians are faced with the concern of administration of steroids to a horse with asthma and end up with a life-threatening complication because of the therapy itself,” says Dr. Michelle Coleman, Assistant Professor of Large Animal Internal Medicine at Texas A&M. “We want to better understand the mechanism of asthma to help guide future studies looking at different therapies or ways to prevent disease.” For their project, the team will study 60 horses, of any breed, from those brought into the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. Researchers will first assess each horse's body condition, identify if they are insulin dysregulated, and define their state of asthma. This will be done by listening to their lungs, looking for nasal discharge and examining fluid samples from their lower airways. The 60 chosen horses will be divided into four groups of 15: obese and asthmatic, non-obese and asthmatic, obese and healthy, and non-obese and healthy. The team will then look for markers of inflammation, including cytokine levels (small proteins released by cells that illicit inflammation). In humans, cytokine levels differ between obese asthmatic vs. non-obese asthmatic people.

An obese horse at Tex

as A&M University.

Obesity has been identified as an important risk factor for asthma in humans. While some evidence suggests there also is an association between the two in horses, it has not been fully explored. The main therapy to treat asthma is corticosteroids, but for obese horses these medications come with a concern for complications, such as laminitis.


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“Obesity and equine asthma are both significant problems for horse health and management,” says Dr. Janet Patterson-Kane, Morris Animal Foundation Chief Scientific Officer. “Knowing more about potentially significant associations between such important conditions has implications for tailoring prevention and treatment methods to individual animals. Most importantly, if this association exists, we might be able to identify horses that are at higher risk to help their owners prevent disease or at least intervene earlier.”

Photo courtesy of Dr. Michelle Coleman.

The second part of the study will examine the horses’ lung microbiota (population of resident bacteria), to see if there are any noteworthy differences in asthmatic horses with and without obesity.